hello and welcome back to "newsline." i'm shery ann. u.s. president barack obama is visiting an alley in asia. their meeting comes at a time of heightened tensions on the korean peninsula. obama arrived in the country friday afternoon. this is the second leg in his four-nation tour. obama started off the meeting by expressing his condolences for the victims of the deadly ferry accident last week.
>> for now i just wanted to express on behalf of the american people our deepest sympathies for the incredible and tragic loss that's taken place. >> and then he observed a moment of silence. president pac thanked obama and said the sympathy and support of the american people are encouraging for south koreans. thens the two leaders talked for about an hour and a half. they have held a news conference. topping the agenda was north korea. leaders in the reclusive nation are threatening to conduct another nuclear test. obama and pak announced they have agreed to step up pressure on pyongyang to realize a nuclear-free korean peninsula. obama said he can never accept the north's provocation and strongly criticized leaders in pyongyang saying those actions will cause nothing but isolation. he reaffirmed the u.s. commitment to its alliance with
south korea and he promised to strengthen missile defense systems. south korean officials warn north korea could conduct a nuclear test at any time. new satellite images of a test site in the north show increased activity. state media have been stepping up criticism against the u.s. and south korea. >> translator: the situation on the peninsula is so tense we could face a nuclear war at any time due to the maneuvers by countries that oppose north korea such as the u.s. and the south. >> the workers party newspaper rodong sinmun has called on people to unite behind kim jong-un. experts at john hopkins university in the u.s. say satellite images from wednesday indicate additional activity at the poongkye-ri nuclear test site and noticed an increase in the movement of vehicles and materials near what are believed to be the entrances to two test
tunnels. the images show vehicles that could provide secure communications between the site and other facilities. similar equipment was spotted before north korea's third nuclear test in february 2013. now before obama headed to seoul he was in japan. the u.s. president had hoped to reach an agreement with prime minister shinzo abe on a free trade deal for the asia pacific but their negotiators couldn't see eye to eye. nhk reports. >> reporter: barack obama came to tokyo hoping he might be able to give negotiators a bit of a push. he'd seen them struggle for months to move forward on their part off the transpacific partnership, but he left tokyo without seeing much progress. >> all of us have to move out of our comfort zones and not just expect that we're going to get
access to somebody else's market without providing access to our own. >> reporter: obama wanted to start off his asian tour on a positive note. he and prime minister shinzo abe tried to bridge some differences, and obama insisted that negotiators keep trying to reach a deal. the people at the table worked throughout the night, but they failed to reach even a broad agreement. still, japan's economic revitalization minister says they know what they have to do and are narrowing the gap. >> translator: japan and the u.s. are going to accelerate the talks and cooperate to reach a conclusion on the tpp. abe and obama issued a joint statement. it says they've reached a key milestone in the tpp negotiations and they said that will inject fresh momentum into the broader talks. trade ministers from the 12 countries taking part in those
negotiations plan to meet again next month. americans and the japanese represent the largest economies of those taking part in the talks and the others are relying on them to put their differences aside. kyoko fujita, nhk world tokyo. the joint statement by japan and the u.s. stresses the significance of the alliance between the two countries. the statement says they underscore the importance of maintaining maritime order based on international law. apparently referring to china's increased maritime activity. the statement expresses concern over actions that have raised tensions in the east and south china seas. they include beijing's declaration of an air defense zone in the east china sea. the statement goes on to say that the u.s. has deployed its most advanced military assets to japan, and is providing all necessary capabilities to meet its commitment under the bilateral security treaty.
it says the commitment extends to all territory under japan's administration, including the senkaku islands. further it says the u.s. opposes any unilateral action that seeks to undermine japan's administration of the islands. japan controls the senkakus. china and taiwan claim them. the japanese government maintains the islands are an inherent part of japan's territory in terms of history and international law. prime minister abe has been seeking to reinterpret the constitution to allow japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense. the statement says that the united states supports japan's consideration of the matter. japan's deputy prime minister taro aso has expressed doubts about an early conclusion about the japan/u.s. tpp negotiations. >> translator: i don't think the u.s. will be able to make a decision before the midterm elections in november.
i don't believe president obama has the power to bring the country together now. >> aso added even if the ministers in charge of the tpp talks reach an agreement there's no guarantee that the u.s. congress will approve it. the top government spokesman commented on aso's remarks that the talks would take time. >> translator: i don't think finance minister aso was saying anything like that if we consider his comments as a whole. >> suga stressed the two nations have been able to identify a path toward reaching an accord. to the latest on business now. major japanese paper manufacturer owe ji holdings plans to purchase the paper maker. oji plans to expand overseas operations because of slow domestic demand.
oji plans to buy the paper and pulpp business of carter holt harvey for about $90 million u.s. dollars. it will make the purchase jointly. the japanese company currently operates a station at a pulp manufacturing firm in new zealand. oji executive says the purchase will help their company to procure materials more efficiently and boost its exports to growing asia markets. well consumers in japan are still getting used to paying more after the increase this month in the consumption tax. the hike from 35 to 8% has driven up prices in tokyo at the if fastest pace in more than two decades. the people with the internal affairs ministry found prices on a basket of goods rose 2.7% over the same month last year. analysts with the bank of japan say more than half of the increase was due to the hike in the sales tax. nationwide, analysts only have numbers through march but prices were in line with what many had expected. they rose for a tenth straight month. the consumer price index went up
1.3% over the same month last year. the index does exclude prices for fresh food. those tend to jump around and skew the numbers. higher energy prices pushed up the index. electricity was up 10% while gas was up more than 6.5%. senior economists with the private research institute is predicting that the pace of price increase is likely to slow after this summer. >> translator: many businesses have raised prices due to higher costs stemming from the yen's decline. but the exchange rate has remained stable recently and the effects of the weaker yen have almost run their course. the consumption tax hike will inevitably slow the nation's economy, so i think the consumer price increase is peaking around this spring and the pace will likely decelerate after summer. >> all right. following the consumer price
data tokyo share prices turned higher. the figures came in slightly lower than expected. some investors became a bit more hopeful the bank of japan may provide further stimulus. the nikkei finished at 14,429. for the week, though, it did post a loss. meanwhile many other asian indexes also closed lower this friday. investors reduced their share holdings ahead of the weekend. also they couldn't really find any positive cues to push the indexes higher. taiwan's index lost nearly 2% to finish at 8774. it was the third consecutive day of declines there. the index reached its highest level in two years and ten months on tuesday. investors were a bit jittery about heated debates among policymakers concerning the future of nuclear energy. hong kong's hang sang index declined finishing at 22, 223. investors still not convinced about the health of the banking sector in mainland china despite
some major state banks releasing higher than expected profits. investors have worried for years that property market in china is a bubble. that's about to pop. they credit home prices and the pace of construction. the latest economic data shows the market is, indeed, losing steam. government researchers looked at residential properties in more than 100 cities. they found the average price of land in the first quarter rose 2.1% from the previous three months. it was the first slowdown in nearly two years. analysts are trying to figure out what this all means over the longer term. kevin li is the deputy head of regional economics of capital markets in hong kong and spoke earlier about what's happening now and also what's ahead. >> well, i think the thing is to not seem to add up to the real picture. some other evidence is actually telling me that there has been more selling pressure in many cities in china and housing
prices have been coming down quite rapidly. so yes, i believe prices have stopped rising and stopped declining and all this have to do with the slowdown in china deterioratine ining credit cond in china and the pressures in the u.s. >> many local governments rely on revenue from land sales. what kind of challenges will falling prices create for these officials? >> yes. about one third of all local government debts rely on land revenues to service the debts, so when housing prices come down, it will add more pressure on the whole credit situation in china. local governments will have to find other ways to generate cash, raising fees, raising more debts, for example, but the
economy is struggling already and liquidity is getting very tight, so that will be a huge challenge going forward. >> so tell us more about these challenges. can you elaborate what it means for the big picture when looking at china? >> well, i think when the tapering is happening now, it is reducing the pboc's, people's bank of china's ability to create money and manage the whole credit situation. money inflows are already slowing down. th there are even signs of money outflows in china and china's currency has been depreciating. the market doesn't seem to understand why it is happening, but if it continues to go down, which we believe so, market assumption about currency appreciation will change quite
drastically and everyone will try to get money out from china. so there will be money outflows on a very significant scale and money outflows will make it even more difficult for the central bank to create money and the local governments will also be very difficult to get the refinancing. so all these could actually bring us to a credit crisis, perhaps also a currency crisis. well the people at japan's biggest mobile phone carrier are walking away from a market with almost a billion customers. executives at docomo want to sell their stake. they have struggled to lift profits at tata services. since 2009, they spent about $2.6 billion buying up more than a quarter of the firm. but their competitors have been cutting prices aggressively. that's eaten into their profits. more than 900 million people in india have mobile phone plans. that makes it the world's second
largest market right behind china. all right. that is going to do it for business this hour. here's a check of the markets. u.s. secretary of state john kerry has suggested his country's ready to impose further sanctions against russia if it doesn't act promptly to ease tensions in ukraine. >> if russia continues in this direction, it will not just be a grave mistake, it will be an
expensive mistake. >> he added that the window for russia to change its course is closing. kerry said leaders in moscow have refused to take a single concrete step in the right direction. last week, representatives froms u.s., the european union, russia and ukraine, agreed that all illegally armed groups in ukraine should be disarmed and end their occupation of government buildings. government officials in kiev have resumed their eviction of pro-russian militants. the group has been blocking access to a city near the country's border with russia. the russian military has begun exercises nearby. maritime authorities have arrested four more crew members of a ferry that sank in south korean waters last week. they're suspected of failing to instruct passengers to leave the ship. the ferry sank off the country's southern coast last wednesday.
181 people are confirmed dead including many high school students. 121 people are still missing. south korean maritime police officers and prosecutors arrested a first engineer and other crew members. that brings the number of crewmembers arrested to 11. investigators are questioning the remaining four crew members, including some who are hospitalized. they're trying to determine why so many passengers failed to abandon ship. maritime police official said divers are focusing on cabins on the ship's third and fourth levels. they said a search of the vessel's lower levels was ham r hampered by difficult conditions. divers are receiving oxygen through hoses so they can spend more time under water. the future of the middle east peace talks could be in doubt. israeli officials have threatened to suspend negotiations with the palestinians. it follows the palestinian president's announcement he's
prepared to form a unity government with the islamist militant group hamas. mahmoud abbas said he's ready to form an interim government within five weeks. abbas heads fatah which controls the west bank. hamas has ruled the gaza strip since 2007. they have long called for israel's destruction. israeli officials say they will not hold any negotiations with the palestinian government that's backed by hamas. israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu has condemned abbas. he says that the president has chosen a terrorist organization over peace. representatives from israel and palestine resumed peace talks last year after a nearly five-year break, but they haven't made any progress. they have been negotiating to extend the talks beyond next tuesday's deadline. a town in northeastern japan
was once renowned for cherry blossom viewing spot but people have not been allowed to go there since the earthquake and tsunami three years ago. a man who had been tending to the cherry trees for decades was given special access to see them again. >> reporter: the town of tomioka is located just 6 kilometers from the fukushima daiichi nuclear plant. three years ago an earthquake and tsunami crippled the plant. and the government issued an evacuation order for the entire town. residents have been living in temporary housing outside of the town ever since. a famous row of about 400 cherry trees used to be the pride of the town of tomioka. it was considered one of fukushima prefecture's most spectacular spots for viewing cherry blossoms. 80-year-old suenaga used to live in tomioka. after the disaster he moved from
one evacuation shelter to another. now he is living with his family in fukushima city. suenaga used to work in the tourism office of tomioka town hall. one of his jobs was tending to the cherry trees in tomioka. he would prune their branches and keep pests at bay. >> translator: i took care of the trees for about 50 years. i worked hard because i wanted tourists to enjoy the cherry blossoms. >> reporter: for the third year in a row, suenaga was forced to spend cherry blossom season away from tomioka. he worries about the cherry trees in his hometown, even when he's looking at other blossoms. because no one has taken care of the trees since the disaster, he wonders if they are still healthy. >> translator: this year it snowed quite a lot, so i'm
particularly worried about the old trees. their branches can get very brittle. >> reporter: but in april, suenaga was offered a rare chance to visit the trees. a bus tour of the cherry blossoms was organized for the residents of tomioka who still are not able to live in the town. he joined the tour, eager to check on the cherry trees in tomioka. finally, the cherry blossoms appeared in front of him. he was only reunited with the trees for five minutes. but he says he could feel the power of nature because the cherry blossoms were just as beautiful as before. >> translator: i was happy to
see them in full bloom. i hope i can take care of them again someday and restore them to their original state. >> reporter: suenaga is waiting for the day he can begin to look after the cherry trees again so they can be passed on to the next generation. and we're seeing severe weather in the central united states. let's bring in our meteorologist robert speta. what should people there expect this weekend? >> this coming weekend is going to be rough for many residents out here across the ohio river valley, extending towards the carolinas and then behind that. we're going to be looking at another storm system that will be developing by the end of the week. first i want to talk about this one, though. you can see it here on the cloud cover, it's brought rough
weather towards the northwest and now working its way through the great lakes. the worst of the severe weather will be along the ohio river valley extending towards the carolinas. what you can expect there, we have some images of what it looked back towards the west out of jackson, mississippi. some lightning strikes out there, fairly ominous clouds into missouri where you saw reports of large hail and damaging winds. the storm system is going to continue to track towards the east, though, tapering off by saturday into sunday. unfortunately, that does not mean the end of the severe weather because back towards the west, what we have out here is snowball in the higher elevations. a few areas into the rockies we could see 15 to 25 centimeters of total accumulation believe it or not and blowing snow into late april in the higher elevations. that's going to work its way towards the east. some dry weather in the southwest. i'm going to get a little bit more on that in just a print. that's going to push into that cold air, plus very humid moisture out of it, and right
there into the central plains that's that battle zone we talk about and that threat of some severe thunderstorms, damaging winds, severe hail, flash floods a possibility and yes tornadoes. some of these could become quite strong. by sunday it continues to progress east and then into monday here in the lower mississippi river valley. a three-day event, a very slow-moving storm is going to be impacting a lot of you. i mentioned it was dry in the southwest and one problem with dry weather we talk about fire weather dangers and actually got some video to show you of tumbleweeds out of arizona. now, this dry weather is causing a prickly problem for much of kingman, arizona. tumbleweeds which are typically associated with the american west are actually leading to a more serious problem. the high fire weather danger. strong winds have enhanced the development of the pesky plants and residents are saying they have to pick up the problem because these catch on fire quite easily and continues to pile up on fences and people's doorways. that's something that we're continuing to watch as well. let's switch gear and look over
towards europe. the severe weather out here as well. first i want to talk about this one moving across france into germany. we have thunderstorms expected there for you. behind that some widespread rainfall could be seen into portugal and spain throughout the week and the british isles, watch out for wet weather there for you. also into the northern portions of the balkan peninsula and in italy. take a look at this actually. we have a graphic made up here. you see those areas in the red. this is where that threat of severe thunderstorms is. northern france, western germany, netherlands, northern portions of the balkan peninsula and extending towards the mediterranean. if you have any travel plans, just be ready for the possibilities of delays and cancellations. also if you're out there just be looking at the sky for that possibility of some of the stronger storms. temperatures look like tis. sunny weather in the north. i want to show you what's going on in eastern asia, beautiful weather in japan that will be changing by the end of the weekend. coming in from the west we have a storm system that's now developing, bring something rain showers in the southeastern china, northeastern china still
dealing with the dust out here and the blowing sand. you have those sandstorms continuing to impact you. actually, beijing very low air quality at this time. but that developing low, that's going to work its way off towards japan by sunday into monday. until then, i know it's a holiday weekend, golden week coming up across much of japan, it's going to be decent weather. tokyo up to 23 there on your sunday. that's a look at your world weather. here's the extended forecast.
newsroom. you're watching live from paris the headlines. ukraine up accuses russia of trying to start world war iii. ukrainian prime minister said a moscow's attempted military conflict in ukraine will lead to a military conflict in europe. ukrainian army moves to blockaded pro-kremlin rebels in the mid east. standing shoulder to shoulder, the u.s. and south korea showed their united fronts against pyongyang's nuclear program. info.erican president's